Straight Talk About Workers Comp Cases & Undocumented Workers
The California Labor Code states that, as a matter of public policy, the legal status of an injured worker does not stop that worker from making a claim for work-related injuries and disability.
Section 3351 of the California Labor Code states:
” ‘Employee’ means every person in the service of an employer under any appointment or contract of hire or apprenticeship, express or implied, oral or written, whether lawfully or unlawfully employed, and includes:
(a) Aliens and minors…”
There is very real fear that someone will report injured undocumented workers, raising the risk of deportation, if the workers pursue a claim. As well-versed as I am in this segment of the law, I do not know of this happening to an injured worker who did so. You may also want to keep in mind that if your employer is the one that is telling you that you might get deported for filing a WC claim, he might be just trying to convince you to not do it because he or she don’t want to pay for your injuries.
I do know, however, that persons who are undocumented continue to run the risk of deportation, irrespective of whether they make a WC claim or not. Immigrants are always facing this risk even if they do not file a WC claim because with new governments and new laws coming out, it is getting more and more edifficult for immigrants to live a calm and peaceful life. This is because of the laws against immigration but also things like racism and people taking advantage of immigrants just for the fact that they are illegals and are not supposed to be in this country. This may also be true of those who have had DACA protections. Either way, I do read case decisions showing that if the injured worker has been deported AFTER making his or her claim, after being released by the doctors, and subsequently is deported for some other reason, their case is NOT ended simply because they no longer reside in California. In fact, a recent case dealt with this by having the injured worker testify via Skype from his residence in Central America.
The Bottom Line:If you or a loved-one have serious work-related injuries and likely significant future disability, assess your priorities. Your health and well-being are certainly as important as your residency. There is little empirical evidence to show that making a Workers Compensation claim itself results in deportation. If the fear of getting deported is the only thing that is stopping you from filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim for your work related injury, please make sure to consult a Job injury attorney to hear out your options and get any of your questions answered. Contact us for a free case evaluation (se habla español).
NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent Workers Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in prison or a fine of up to $50,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.